Tag: EST

How to make old homes energy efficient

A recent article in The Guardian offers some advice on how to make Britain’s 5 million historic homes more energy efficient. At key point in the article is that Britain’s 5m historic houses – defined by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings as anything built before 1919 – should not be treated like new ones, and that green deal-style modern technologies were often inappropriate.

Suggestions from the team of historic advisers include:-

  • A lot of energy waste in old buildings is the result of overdue maintenance, so get the window panes fixed and clear out the gutters and drains that make walls damp and cold.
  • Do the cheap options that have the least impact on the building fabric first, eg: turning the thermostat down a degree, draught-stripping for windows and doors and a thick pair of curtains can be just as effective as more expensive measures. Floor coverings or rugs can block air infiltration and keep feet warm.
  • Think about how and when you use your building. When does it need
    to be warmer and when could it be cooler? Swap your boiler controls from a timer to a programmable thermostat and switch off what you can.
  • Historic buildings were designed to be heated one room at a time using separate open fires, which is more efficient than all at once. You can recreate this today by manually controlling thermostat valves. Programmable wi-fi radiator valves are becoming more readily available.
  • Typically, about 25% heat is lost through the roof, in comparison to 35% through the walls, 15% through the floor and 25% from windows and draughts. But the cost of insulating in the roof is usually much lower than the cost of solid wall insulation, so it is often more cost-effective to do the roof first.
  • For the big investment, focus on how you generate and distribute
    heat in your building. Ask for advice while you’re still considering your
    options.
  • Older homes deal with heat and moisture differently to more modern construction types. Look at the property as a whole system rather than considering measures individually and think about their cumulative impact on the way that the building fabric functions.
  • Consider all the simple and cheap measures first, before investing in more expensive measures such as external wall insulation – like draught excluders and heavier curtains. Think about floor coverings or rugs to block air infiltration and keep feet warm.
  • Keeping your home in a good state of repair can make a big difference, and in most cases is likely to maintain or even improve the heritage value of a home.
  • Typically, about 25% heat is lost through the roof, in comparison to 35% through the walls, 15% through the floor and 25% from windows and draughts. But the cost of insulating the roof is usually much lower than the cost of solid wall insulation, so it is often more cost-effective to do the roof first.

No or very low risk, which do not require expertise or huge amounts of money include:-

  • Know what you use and where you use it and switch off what you can.
  • Maintain the building fabric and your heating system.
  • Make sure controls and timers are set correct.
  • Replace incandescent and halogen bulbs with LED ones.
  • Install simple efficiency measures – thick curtains, draught proof strips.

Read the full article

Public want urgent global action to tackle climate change

73% of people want world leaders to agree a global deal and 66% think action must happen now, according to a new Populus survey. The survey reveals an appetite for action on climate change by the UK public, with only 20% agreeing that it can wait a few years. But the survey also showed that just 40% of people recognise the potential impact of climate change on their lifestyle.

Survey results

  • 73% think world leaders must urgently agree a global deal
  • 20% think taking action can wait a few years
  • 72% are aware of the benefits of tackling climate change
  • 40% think that climate change will negatively impact me and my lifestyle
  • 33% think taking action on climate change will negatively impact economic growth

Full DECC Press release

Vampire Energy ~ Five energy myths that will shock your socks off

Busting 5 common myths on energy saving:

  1. Myth: Computer screensavers save energy, right?
    • Reality: Wrong. Screensavers are just another programme that consume energy. Switching off your monitor (or the whole computer) is the most effective way to save energy and cut your bill.
  2. Myth: TVs, laptops and phone chargers don’t use electricity when not in use.
    • Reality: Nope. Everyday gadgets and appliances suck up electricity even when idle or on standby mode. The average household spends up to £86 a year on standby energy. Switch it off!
  3. Myth: There’s nothing you can do to reduce the amount of energy your fridge, freezer and washing machine uses.
    • Reality: If you adjust your settings, you’ll save money. Try these simple steps:
    • avoid using the coolest setting on your fridge and close the door straightaway – the more hot air gets in, the more energy it needs to cool down again
    • use the eco setting on your white goods
    • check the energy rating when buying new appliances
  4. Myth: LED light bulbs will cost you more.
    • Reality: A single LED bulb lasts around 50 times longer than a traditional light bulb. So you could spend a whopping 80% less if you used LEDs rather than traditional bulbs. A single LED light bulb costs around £9.30 and will last 5 and half years (if left running constantly), while the cost of traditional bulbs over that same amount of time would set you back around £135.
  5. Myth: It’s a hassle to switch energy suppliers.
    • Reality: Switching is really easy and can only take around 45 minutes. More than two million customers have saved up to £200 or more a year by switching to independent electricity suppliers since 2010. Shopping around for your energy, like you shop around for insurance or a new phone package, can save you money! Check out the Be An Energy Shopper website to learn how you can switch and save money.

So, what’s the moral of the story? It’s simple. Switch it off and check your settings.

Source: DECC

Energy survey raises concerns: people think they know more about energy issues than they really do

A nationally representative survey of 2,058 British adults conducted by ComRes on behalf of the National Energy Foundation throws light on how much the British public really knows about energy. Most significantly, only a quarter (23%) of British adults were able to identify the policy that scientists say is the fastest and most effective way of meeting our energy needs (using less energy) by reducing energy demand and improving energy efficiency.

National Energy Foundation logo

Other significant findings include:

  • Only half (50%) of those surveyed correctly identified which type of light bulb uses the least energy (LED) and 35% incorrectly thought that low voltage halogen lights use the least.
  • Only one in ten (11%) adults say that they know how much energy their workplace uses; while eight out of ten believe that private employers (79%) and the government (76%) should provide training and education to teach the public to use energy more efficiently. This compares to the six in ten (57%) who believe that technology will solve our energy problems.
  • Although three in five British adults (58%) say they feel well-informed about energy issues, the same proportion (59%) also don’t know that the majority of the UK’s electricity supply comes from fossil fuels.

The survey was commissioned as background to the launch of the National Energy Foundation’s Working together towards an energy-literate UK programme.

The headline survey findings are available here.

The detailed survey findings are available here.

British households could save 75 pounds a year ~ if they take control of their heating

According to Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of Energy Saving Trust, speaking during Big Energy Saving Week:

“Rightfully, millions of householders are confused by their heating controls because, let’s be honest, it is a bit of a minefield. There are plenty of myths out there and it’s no wonder people aren’t getting it right. We are urging customers to learn about the myths, check their tariff, switch suppliers and insulate their homes.”

heater-thermostat-415x260

The findings from an Ipsos MORI survey of over 2,000 UK respondents show that almost four fifths of people (78 per cent) claim to understand how to use their heating controls. However, many of these respondents turn out to be using their heating controls incorrectly. Of those who thought they understood how to operate their heating controls:

  • MYTH 1: Turn the heating up when it’s cold outside. Half (52 per cent) turn the thermostat up when it’s cold outside. A home shouldn’t need this as the thermostat is there to maintain the home temperature whatever the weather.
  • MYTH 2: Turn up the thermostat to heat the room quicker. Over a third (35 per cent) turn their room thermostat up when they want the room to heat up quicker. This does not help a room become warmer any quicker and only heats the home to a warmer temperature.
  • MYTH 3: Leave the heating on low constantly. Thirty-eight per cent think it is more energy efficient to leave the heating turned on at a low temperature constantly, rather than turn it on and off. This means these homes are heated when no-one is there to benefit and then the home is too cold when people are in the home.
  • MYTH 4: Hot water runs out if you stop feeding the tank. Nearly a third (31 per cent) leave their water heating on all the time to make sure they never run out, which could be costing far more on their energy bills than necessary.
  • MYTH 5: Keep electric storage heaters on all the time. Our research also found that few people with electric storage heaters fully understand how they work (only 38 per cent). This means that households with electric heating could be paying through the nose by not taking advantage of cheaper night rate electricity.

Source: Energy Saving Trust press release